80’s 1157 Kit: Did anything work?

Agree with all this.

I recently saw an army video on YouTube of a modern day recruits locker at Catterick. They now have issued indoor & outdoor trainers!!!! Let that sink in!! Two pairs each designed to meet the exercise requirement.

I had black plimsoles, highly polished, one pair, for the knackering of joints.

Furthermore, Not a KF shirt, or any shirt for that matter, in sight. No woolley pulls.

All whatever they call DPM these days.

Boots not bulled!!!!

Army's gone soft I tell ya...
Got to admit in the very brief period I was keen and upping my allyness the Silvermans booklet was like a bible and I'm a bit envious when you see the troops nowadays with all that gear laid on, aircon in the wagons, jackals to hang out of, no boots to bull and of course dripping in medals. It's nice to know my achilles and liver weren't sacrificed in vain.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Extract from the minutes of the Op Corporate wash up in Main Building.

‘The kit we gave the blokes to go to war in the Falklands was pretty shit - boots shit, helmets shit, doss bags shit, webbing shit, DPM totally shit, waterproofs shit (oh, wait, we didn’t provide those) and they are now dripping like fcuk’.

‘let’s give them all a pair of long johns, a vest and some of those combat highs, and chuck in a pair of NI gloves for everyone, not the original version mind, get some cheap lookalikes. That’ll shut them up for a bit’
The general outcome of post-conflict analysis was that the troops in WW1 and 2 were better protected against the cold than the troops of the 1970s/80s. Ammunition boots were far better than DMS, for example. Woollen service/battledress insulated better than cotton but see also sheepskin outers, leather battle jerkins and so on.

It's an irony that if the guys who went south in 1982 had had their fathers' and grandfathers' gear they'd have coped better with the weather.

A big problem with the 68 Pattern DPMs is that once wet they took ages to dry. That was the thinking behind the 85 Pattern being unlined... though what the thinking was behind everything being single-stitched seams is another discussion. One that should have resulted with someone being tapped lightly about the kneecaps with a hammer.

Cotton thermals were an outcome based on the Sir Galahad experience and the perceived fire risk. The reality, of course, is that away from the slightly artificial environment of the Falklands (i.e. lots of soldiers on ships) the greater risk was from hypothermia than fire, and synthetics were a better idea (tell it to the Marines, many of whom spent lots of time on ships and many of whom habitually used synthetic Helly Hansen Lifa gear).

BCH? See above.

KF shirts? Why... just, why?

Crisp packets? Agree with @re-stilly - you got wetter wearing one than not. But a Gore-Tex jacket cost £100 at the time and that... well, I think we had one sergeant who had one. I think he sold his children to be able to afford it.

I liked the Chinese fighting suit. More so at three in the morning.

The HJ socks were very good and I still buy them now... just not in green.

NI gloves? you could remove the foam padding, replace it with lead shot, punch walls and split bricks. Allegedly. I'm far happier with the Sealskinz I now own.

Years later, my ex-wife remarked that I spend too much on outdoor kit and asked why. The truth is that the lessons learned of being freezing and soaked aren't forgotten. Oh, and I'm a bit of a tart.

But, between Mountain Equipment, Hanwag and Smartwool/Armadillo (whose merino layers are superb, and proof that you can wear wool next to the skin), I'm pretty much happy in most UK weather.
 
Last edited:
‘let’s give them all a pair of long johns,
Ah, no one has yet to mention those. Made from a cotton mix with almost zero thermal retention and each set was ever so slightly smaller than the size they were supposed to be and rode down your arrse with even the slightest sign of movement.

ETA @Cold_Collation beat me to it!
 
I joined in 93 - so I got to use some kit in discussion here, plus as a cadet i experienced a lot of it too.

Jumper - loved it. Pretty much bombproof even if it did smell of dog when you got it wet. Obviously I prefer fleeces and turned up at basic with one of those green Helly Hansen ones that were all the rage at that time (went fetchingly with blue Ron Hills that I wore un-ironically). Weirdly I didn’t rate the Chinese fighting suit - but never wore it so...

Scrim scarf - brilliant. Even better as it was ’well Gucci‘ kit for a cadet, so I had a couple. I managed to scrounge a spare helmet cover, cut one up and reverse engineered a sandbag to create an instant cam’ed up helmet. The rest I used for the same effect for ‘instant’ cam on my webbing.

Headover - brilliant. So much so all my civvy mates were bragging about the amazing ‘new’ Buff a couple of years after I joined so I showed them my one.

BCH - yeah. I already knew so turned up at basic wIth sorbothane. And our training staff showed us how to lace them up so you weren’t crippled so that helped (a bit).

I never even considered the green hold-all and sausage bag. I only used them twice and one of those was carrying all of my 1157 back from the stores to the block (at a fair rate of knots).

58 webbing. Bomb-proof but... yeah. Especially the main sack - I bought a Karrimor Condor 85-100 when they still made decent kit. I could use it civvy hiking so a good investment.

58 pattern water bottle. Great bit of kit - we even used it (empty) as an improv rugby ball on occasion. I do remember a kit inspection on my R Sigs Cpls Course and being thoroughly mocked for my Camelbak (I had picked on up in Cyprus at the PRI). “Being able to drink water without a massive faff? That will never catch on...” Obviously the cream of the Royal Corps in that training staff!

PT kit - f*** awful. That red tshirt that seemed to expend exponentially in size if you got wet (Steve Banner should have invested in a few, would have served him great for when he turned green). The shorts even worse.

Lightweight trousers - brilliant. Okay the map pocket was useless but they looked fairly smart, dried quickly and were really hard wearing. Plus you could tell who was a crow if they were not two-tone.

NI gloves - I had a pair as a cadet and they were great. Those I was issued in basic were f*** awful.

Green socks - why the hell did they change the contract?

(I was a bit of a kit monster as you can tell - all the gear and very little idea. But at least I looked ally as f*** when I was monging it).
 
Got to admit in the very brief period I was keen and upping my allyness the Silvermans booklet was like a bible and I'm a bit envious when you see the troops nowadays with all that gear laid on, aircon in the wagons, jackals to hang out of, no boots to bull and of course dripping in medals. It's nice to know my achilles and liver weren't sacrificed in vain.

But do they get as many smarties to the pound that we did?

(See Billy Connolly)
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Now that’s proper soldiering.
PS. Is that a pair of old socks on the cuffs of your windproof?
Actually, it's the cuffs of the wooly pully pulled up over the cuffs of the windproof...
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I have counted two people who liked the green nylon socks.

What are they thinking? Those nylon, shiny socks, allied to BCH and cheese grater insoles caused more casualties than the first day on the Somme. My mum used to send me 'Countryman' green woolen socks out to BAOR to spare me the pain!
 
Perhaps a different era.
When I joined in 74 I had previously worn about 15 items of clothing that had not been preworn.
Being issued with an entire wardrobe was a revelation.
 
I have counted two people who liked the green nylon socks.

What are they thinking? Those nylon, shiny socks, allied to BCH and cheese grater insoles caused more casualties than the first day on the Somme. My mum used to send me 'Countryman' green woolen socks out to BAOR to spare me the pain!

The RAF wouldn't let you wear any nylon if there was any type of fire risk as it wod melt into the skin underneath. But, hey ho, they're just disposable squaddies, ain't they.
 
Seconded on the Chinese fighting suit, under combats much better than a wooly pully.

I think I recall a first version of the cfs which used a layer of water-absorbing foam-plastic sponge, instead of the insulation stuff that came later. Or am I just mis-remembering that?

And BCH . . . I resorted to a private physio to break up the scar tissue on my left achilles. From then on I didn't lace the top three (four?) holes, just used trouser elastics instead and kept the lightweights or combats low over the top of the boots. Fortunately the MO had seen quite a lot of injured bods, so it was an accepted problem rather than something to get bollocked for, provided one tried to look smart-ish.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
Crisp Packet, wrinkly - Idea was good, material used was crap, leaving you wetter inside than if you had left them off.

Socks, Green - Always thought these were comfy and great bit of kit.

Lightweights - Great for everyday use.

Bedford MK - Almost Squaddie proof

Bedford TM (tin machine) - Worst replacement ever, rattled and fell apart.
Dad always swore by Lightweight Trousers.
Great for running in he always said.
 
I have counted two people who liked the green nylon socks.

What are they thinking? Those nylon, shiny socks, allied to BCH and cheese grater insoles caused more casualties than the first day on the Somme. My mum used to send me 'Countryman' green woolen socks out to BAOR to spare me the pain!
One of the first items I brought in BAOR, was on adventure training in Bavaria was a several pairs of long German Bavarian style real woolly socks, (no I did not go totally Bavarian and buy the Lederhosen. I found the leather chapped my working parts!!!!).

I had them from 1978 to quite recently.

They went to NI, Falklands and all over Germany on exercises. I also used them when I swopped DPM for Black & White, great on night shifts.

The only problem with them was they were typical Bavarian with a hunting scene pattern on them in bright green and red. Raised a few eye brows during Active Edge/Pre Exercise Kit Inspections!!!!

Over the years due to running repairs the pattern changed to resembled a explosion in a wool shop.

Best few DM's I ever spent.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
Loved the cotton ones. Didn't like the crap that replaced them. Polyester?
I think yes.

After Dad left the Army in 1990, he searched desperately (back in the days before the Internet) for a few pairs of authentic British Army Issue Lightweight Trousers, all he could get were reproductions or the later type you mentioned.
 
buy surplus German Para boots.
Not only the 80's. In BAOR in the 70's some of the lads had boxhead para boots, i still have mine, they still fit and in use. and Doc martins, out on exercise a blind eye was turned, as the issue boots were crap in a German winter. Also civvie sheepskin lined black leather waistcoat type jacket liners were worn, under the DPM combat jacket. A lot of civvie stuff supplemented the crap 1157 issue kit, provided it was covered up, and not too conspicuous it was tolerated. :p
 
Remember when Norgie shirts first hit the NAAFI in Iserlohn, sold out in minutes few. RHQ had a fit about them being worn. It was always a surprise that they became issue kit less than a couple of years later.
 
Got to admit in the very brief period I was keen and upping my allyness the Silvermans booklet was like a bible and I'm a bit envious when you see the troops nowadays with all that gear laid on, aircon in the wagons, jackals to hang out of, no boots to bull and of course dripping in medals. It's nice to know my achilles and liver weren't sacrificed in vain.
Mine was the survival aids catalogue - my ventlie jacket (bought as a cadet) has only just given up the ghost after 30 years but the Lundhag boots were a mistake.
I probably still have a few bits kicking around bought from there.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I think yes.

After Dad left the Army in 1990, he searched desperately (back in the days before the Internet) for a few pairs of authentic British Army Issue Lightweight Trousers, all he could get were reproductions or the later type you mentioned.
My best man did a full career, and retired as GSM at Gütersloh, maybe ten years ago (only, sadly, to die shortly thereafter). There is video of him being driven out of camp on the back of a BFO RLC truck. He wore lightweights.
 

Latest Threads

Top